Alpine SnowGuards launched a revolutionary new rooftop snow management system, Fusion-Guard, late in 2019. Response to the hybrid snow guard is overwhelmingly positive, especially from project engineers and roofing contractors.
One-of-a-Kind Hybrid Snow Guard
Pad-Style: a one-of-a-kind hybrid system designed by a roofer, for roofers. At its core, Fusion-Guard is a pad-style snow guard.
Retrofit with Rods for Added Protection: if added protection is needed or wanted after initial installation, Fusion-Guard can be retrofit with rods (below). Or, it can simply be installed as a rod-style system to begin with.
Game Changer: Why is this concept such a game-changer? Because for years, snow guards have been sold in one configuration OR the other. Either pad-style OR pipe-style. Pad-style systems utilize an array (or grid) pattern of individual friction points. Pipe-style systems utilize brackets or stanchions connected by pipes/rods/rails to create a lineal barrier or barricade.
The Fusion-Guard system allows the installer to select a pad-style system, a pipe-style system, or a combination of both.
A Snow Guard Conversation with an Architect
I recently spent an hour or so on the phone with an architect who’s designing a home with a roof that incorporates synthetic slate shingles. We engaged in a pleasant discussion about how many of these synthetic materials look and function well. He acknowledged that yes, they have a more slippery surface than natural slate. It’s important to note that some of these shingles, like the one he was specifying, have a waxy, Polyolefin surface that substantially reduces the surface friction as compared to natural slate.
Roofing Industry Advancement: Synthetic Shingle & Slate
It’s also important to note that several of the synthetic shingle manufacturer’s first products replicated the look of natural slate very well. They have since fine-tuned their formulations and even offer products that very convincingly model cedar shingles. This is a great advancement for the roofing industry, with most of the natural slate market understanding that snow guards are necessary to manage sliding snow and ice. In the cedar shingle market, however, snow guards have rarely been needed because natural cedar absorbs water and freezes, holding back snow and ice naturally.
Recognizing the Need for Snow Guards
It’s proving to be very difficult in the new synthetic cedar market to get homeowners, roofers, and architects to recognize the need for snow guards on these new roofing materials, when they hadn’t been needed in the past. Sadly, many are learning this lesson the hard way, while replacing gutters that had been ripped off after snow has come barreling off the roof in the form of a roof avalanche.
Discussing Snow Guard Layout Options
During our lengthy phone discussion, the architect and I covered pad-style snow guards and their proper layout. We also covered pipe-style snow guards and how they perform as a barricade and about how using a combination of pipes at the eaves supplemented by pads upslope will reduce the aesthetic impact of multiple rows of pipes up the roof surface (at least for points of egress). As our conversation came to a close, the architect thanked me for the education on a topic. Next, he arrived at the following solution that I’ll paraphrase:
Architect: “Ah, I fully understand now, thank you. But this owner will never go for pipe-style snow guards on their house, so that’s out. And my goodness, we may need three rows of pads on all eaves, with supplemental rows necessary for rafter lengths over 15 feet? This owner will not want to see that many snow guards on their expensive new roof. So, here’s what we’ll do; We’ll do two rows of Fusion-Guard pads above the doors. If that doesn’t help, we’ll add rods to the Fusion-Guard system. If that still doesn’t help enough, we’ll consider adding more rows in a year or two, once the owners have gotten used to the look.
Hybrid Snow Guard has a Built-In Fix for Roofers
The Fusion-Guard system allows roofers to “fix” projects where recommended layouts were not followed. This is accomplished by retrofitting the pads with rods. The system allows for retrofit of additional pads for areas with high snow loads, when three rows wouldn’t be enough.
Fusion-Guard has been a “win-win” for all parties involved. Mistakes are made every day and the roofer is often left to fix those mistakes, while absorbing costs. With Fusion-Guard, roofers can do what building owners or project professionals demand. They can supplement the install with a built-in fix, all without damaging the roof.
Alpine SnowGuards has been in the snow management business since 1993. Prior to that, we were in the historic roofing business since 1977. We can assist with layout recommendations, engineering calculations and even stamped engineered layouts. With over 40 years’ experience, we recognize cost and aesthetics are important factors when selecting a snow management system. The Fusion-Guard system addresses both and will not leave the roofer holding the bag.
Until next time,
President & Founder, Alpine SnowGuards
We keep snow in its place
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Alpine SnowGuards designs, engineers, and manufactures snow management systems from our facility in Morrisville, VT. We work closely with leading roofing contractors, engineering firms, developers, solar installers and roofing manufacturers to ensure we deliver quality products that do what we say they’ll do. Alpine SnowGuards can help a building qualify for LEED® credits.
This blog by Alpine SnowGuards’ company president and founder Brian Stearns, originally appeared on Alpine’s From Ridge to Eave blog on October 13, 2020.